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Apple expands Find My network for third-parties

7 min read
  • The Find My app has just received a big upgrade, with the rumored “Items” section now becoming a reality.
  • From now on, third-party products can also take advantage of Apple’s Find My network.
  • This means AirTags are just around the corner... right?

Apple has just released an update for their Find My app that allows third-party products to use the private and secure Find My network which is composed of hundreds of millions of Apple devices. This allows third-party device manufacturers to embed the functionality Find My offers into their products, allowing people to locate their lost or misplaced devices. The companies behind the first batch of Find My devices are; Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof. These products will be available next week.

For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program. We’re thrilled to see how Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof are utilizing this technology, and can’t wait to see what other partners create.

Any accessory developer is welcome to add an upcoming or existing product to the list of Find My compatible devices as long as they adhere to all the privacy protections of the Find My network, according to Apple. These approved products can be added to the new items tab in the Find My app, they will also feature a ‘Works with Apple Find My’ logo in order to communicate its compatibility. Apple also announced a draft specification for chipset manufacturers which will be released later this spring. With this, manufacturers will be able to take advantage of the U1 chip, which was introduced in 2019 with the iPhone 11 series. This will for a more precise representation of the item’s whereabouts.

The first Find My compatible devices are: VanMoofs S3 and X3 e-bikes (purchased from April 7 or later), Belkin’s SOUNDFORM Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, and the ONE Spot item finder, released by Chipolo.

These products will be trackable from the Find My app once they are registered in the Items section, with users able to easily play a loud sound to pinpoint the device’s location. They can also put them into Lost Mode, which will display a message with a contact number and even completely erase the device in case it has been lost for good. The process is end-to-end encrypted and not even Apple, or the device manufacturer, know the device’s precise location. Accessory developers and manufacturers can learn more about the Find My Program and guidelines from Apple’s website. This new program expands the functionality of the Find My network, announced way back in 2019, to new heights, and it’s another chapter in the apparently never ending history behind AirTags. When are they going to be released? Nobody knows for sure, but we’re getting there... We hope.

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